21st Feb2005

Why Am I Still At H&M?

by Will

“What is happening to it all?
Crazy some say
Where is the life that I recognise?
Gone away. ”

Work, work, work, work, work…

How much is a person worth? I mean, honestly. At what point is “decent salary” enough for a person’s soul?

I’ve been wrestling with that lately, as in “Do I really wanna continue with H&M?” I had dreams and plans for myself in this company, but are they worth it? I see what the place does to others, and I just wonder if I really want to subject myself to that.

I’ve been trying to figure out if I want to be a manager. I mean, I could do it, but do I WANT to do it? Don’t know. I think it comes down to attention and acceptance. What I mean is, I’d like to be chosen for the opportunity. I’d like it to be, “We’ve been watching you, and you seem bored. Perhaps it’s time for a new challenge.” But that’s not going to happen.

People keep telling me, “Let the area team know what your intentions are.” But I’m not entirely sure, and I don’t want to waste their time.

I think I might be done with retail. I know, I’m a broken record. I just don’t think I can go any further with this company. I’ve reached my ceiling. My dept is getting ANOTHER mgr tomorrow, and once again, I’ve gotta prove myself to some stranger. I’m tired of being a $2 Tijuana retail whore: Every few weeks, some new, sometimes European, stranger strolls in looking for a good time. I smile, give them the tour, and then become their concubine. Next thing I know, the area team has bigger plans for them and sweeps them away. But knock, knock. New European at the door!

And I don’t wanna spend too much time on the matter ’cause I honestly feel that if I were mgr material, it would’ve happened already. I guess I’m kidding myself and whatnot. It’s just that I want more, and I’m not really fulfilled. I don’t even know if I want that responsibility. I could really use the money, and I truly need to feel a sense of importance. I don’t really feel that anymore. I felt more important as a sales asst than I do in my current, vague role.

I’m not a quitter, so I don’t want to bolt. But I really need to figure out if I’m just spinning my wheels at this point.

I’m not pleased with H&M right now, but I don’t know if it’s the company, or just my store. “Everybody’s changing, and I still feel the same.” Today, they completely overhauled the store. Apparently, its original layout wasn’t conducive to a positive shopping experience, so they’re switching departments around. This may sound trivial, and you might say, “Well, that’s business,” but this is not the baby that I helped bring into the world. I don’t know who this bastard is, but I ain’t the daddy!

One of my biggest issues with leaving is that I was hired to open this store. It’d be a whole different animal if this were just a job. If I’d been walking through a mall, and saw a “Now Hiring” sign. But I trained, specifically, to open this store. I had a hand in its formation, so I take a lot of what goes on there personally. But I don’t recognize it anymore, both literally and metaphorically. And that disturbs me. I’ve never been one for change, but do you know how it feels to be unnecessary, redundant, even obsolete? ‘Cause that’s how I feel right now. I guess we could say “My baby’s all grown up”, which would be a good thing, but I’m left feeling like maybe I never did anything worthwhile to begin with. And that leads me to the masochism.

The other day, I worked 19 hrs straight. I didn’t HAVE to, but I volunteered for it. It was Season Start, which is when we usher in the Spring Collection. Anyway, I always work insane hours for Season Start. Why? Because I can. It’s during these crunch periods that I feel important. Everyone’s working towards a common goal. Even the bitch that everyone hates is a team player for a 24 hr span of time. But I NEED responsibility, and NOT “Hey Will, did we order bags this month?” Yeah, that’s my job, but I liked it better when I got to help merchandise, and deal with customers on the floor, etc. This kind of schedule is KILLING me. I’m not doing well, from a nervous perspective. I’m actually physically breaking down. I don’t talk about it with many people ’cause I’m already “Bitching Will”. At this point, it’s just more of the same, but things are worse than I let on. I’m thinking that this job isn’t really good for my health anymore, but I have this NEED for acceptance. I HAVE to know that I’m doing something worthwhile, but equally problematic, I have to know that others recognize this. I spent most of the other night helping a dept mgr get her shit together when she’d had a good week’s time to do it beforehand. When all was said and done, she was kinda appreciative, but she didn’t seem to grasp the particulars: She never seemed to realize it was all her fault that we were still there, nor did she realize that I DIDN’T have to be there. I don’t want to paint the wrong picture. I don’t do it FOR the “thank you”, but it certainly would be nice to receive.

I may bitch and moan, but I still have a pretty good work ethic. I don’t leave until the job is done. Yeah, it might’ve taken me a bit longer than we would have liked, but I don’t just “peace out” on people. I stay until the job is done. And it’s killing me that the new breed of H&M mgr doesn’t share that mentality. Hell, I work more hours than many of them, and I don’t feel it should be that wya. Yes, it’s a personal choice. And they always counter with, “Well, you get overtime!”. But it’s not about the money. It’s a reflection to everyone else on the job. I’m not saying “Sell your soul to H&M.”, but I’m saying DO the job you were hired to do, and act like the company made the right decision in hiring you. With the way the company’s chosing managers recently, I don’t know what offends me most: the fact that I haven’t been approached to be a mgr, or the fact that, somewhere, someone feels I’m not as capable as these people they keep filing through my store. ‘Cause if that’s the case, I must REALLY suck, and not even realize it. Nothing sadder than a clueless person…

The point is, do I hate myself enough to gain some faceless acceptance at the cost of my own self-esteem and health? One, logically, would answer “No”, but it’s not so black & white. I mean, it IS a job. They Do pay me. I don’t report to Massa evah morn when de cock crows. But at what point is enough enough? I’ve always felt that, when a person is in an uncomfortable situation, he will remove himself when he can finally take no more. But apparently I’m not at that point if we’re still here, in the talking stage.

Th other day, one of my coworkers said the oddest thing, or at least, odd coming from her. She told me, “Will, you need to leave here. You’ve got too much going for you.” Now, she’s a sweet chick, but we’ve never been “cool”. I even called her a bitch a threatened to have her killed one time (LONG STORY, and was mainly a joke). Anyway, to hear this from her, I was kinda blown away. I hear it all the time when I come home in the evenings, but I thought those were the ramblings of disappointed parents. If I have so much to offer, why can’t I see that? Why do I keep doing this to myself? Am I staying at H&M because I’m scared? I truly would like to move up in the company. I have a long-standing respect for the brand, but is having as nice as wanting? So many question, too few answers…

“Sometimes, the world looks perfect
Nothing can be arranged
Sometimes you just
Get a feeling
Like you need
Some kinda change…”